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Government foreign policy isn’t working Clare Short claims: The Church of England Newspaper, March 2, 2012 p 3. March 7, 2012

Posted by geoconger in British Foreign Policy, Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
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A “fair” foreign policy coupled with aid was a moral duty, Clare Short, told a meeting at Ripon Cathedral last week.  And it was also the “intelligent” thing to do the former Secretary of State for International Development and Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood said in the first of this year’s St. Wilfred lectures on the theme of “Questions of Right and Wrong – the role of faith in contemporary society”.

In her 23 Feb 2012 talk, Ms. Short addressed the question “Aid – moral duty or national self interest?”  She opened her talk by asserting that giving aid was often a cloak for poor foreign policy choices.  “What is in our ‘intelligent self interest’ in a safer, more sustainable world which will be a better place for everyone, for all our grandchildren, is also what is morally right.”

“By the time New Labour got to Iraq, and the disgraceful air traffic control British Aerospace sale to Tanzania that was authorized by the British government, and the disgraceful Saudi Arms deals, that you could say there was all this ‘dirty stuff’ going on over here but we could say ‘oh we’ve got a lovely development policy over here’, and then something’s going wrong with morality. Because if you are using [aid] to camouflage other behaviour that is completely questionable then that’s not a moral outlook and I don’t believe that it is an intelligent self-interested outlook either.”

“What is morally right and what is in our intelligent self-interest is the same thing,” Ms. Short argued.

Britain was “on the wrong track in its foreign policy,” she claimed, stating that it had “made some good moves in its development policy – but you can’t be doing the wrong thing over here and the right thing over there, and then say we ‘belong with the sheep rather than with the goats’.”

“And if you won’t change that strategy for moral reasons, then the equivalent, perhaps, of ‘burning in hell for all time’ would be to see that ugly, divided, conflict- ridden world of suffering where we have to draw a circle round ourselves and try to protect ourselves from the turbulence and trouble that will otherwise come upon us,” the former minister argued.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.